Automated Generation of Questions in Formal Domains:
Pilot Study on High School Geometry

A/Prof Martin Henz

What Used to Be

Practice questions help students to explore and revise topics covered in classes and textbooks. Generally, textbooks and online sites provide a limited predefined number of questions for each topic and teachers often need to customise and set more questions manually. However, the manual generation of questions is difficult, tedious and error-prone.

Problems We Identified

As a result, standardised tests, online course providers and tutoring schools need to devote considerable resources to the generation of questions. The novelty of questions, their correct difficulty and specific target domain and subdomain are of crucial importance.

What We Did

We used techniques in Artificial Intelligence in order to formally capture the logic structure of the subjects at hand, and developed a software framework that employs the formalisations in order to quickly generate large numbers of unique questions of specific topics and difficulty levels.

How This Helped

We have applied the techniques in several domains, including high school physics (mechanics), geometry and algebra. The feedback from educators is encouraging. For geometry we have developed a web-based tool called Euclid's Toolkit and have conducted initial usability tests with geometry teachers in Singapore and India. Once question generation for high school subjects matures, the underlying techniques may be refined and extended to handle university level subjects further down the road.